She had used a photo from her gall bladder operation to trick kind-hearted members of the public
A mum who faked that she had been diagnosed with cancer and raised £45k from well-wishers has been ordered to repay just a fiver. Nicole Elkabbas, 44, raised the money through a GoFundMe page.
She was only caught when her consultant oncologist discovered the fundraising page asking for money to pay for private ovarian cancer treatment. She had been given the all-clear by doctors in Britain.
He spotted the photo used on the page was taken in Margate Hospital – not Spain as she claimed. It was actually taken after she had gall bladder surgery months before.
Police then contacted Barcelona’s Teknon Clinic where she claimed to be staying, and they said they had never heard of her. Elkabbas has now been ordered to repay just £5 of the cash. The order was made because she has no financial assets or ability to repay her nearly 700 victims, The Mirror explains.
The mum of one from Broadstairs, Kent, used the money to go on holiday, buy football tickets and gamble. The former Harrods fashion consultant plead not guilty in her trial in November 2020.
She claimed she genuinely believed she had cancer. She was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison in November at Canterbury Crown Court.
Sentencing Elkabbas, Judge Mark Weekes said the deception was “cunning and manipulative”. “You produced detailed and at times graphic accounts of the treatment you were receiving with a view to keeping those you had snared in your web of lies paying you money. All the while, you were gambling, enjoying shopping trips and luxuries in Italy and Spain at their expense.”
She was hauled back to court last Wednesday after being jailed for two years and nine months in February.
Her trial heard that the GoFundMe page garnered more than £45,000 in donations from more than 600 people. Prosecutor Ben Irwin told the court that Elkabbas was a “confidence trickster” who made claims she knew were untrue.
“Clear emotive language, playing on the fears of the public, pulling on people’s heartstrings and then saying that there was an opportunity to be saved,” he added. At her trial he described her actions as “utterly dishonest”.
“It was a scheme designed to trick and to con, and she knew it. So she lied about the major surgery, lied about six cycles of chemotherapy, lied about this wonder-drug – the breakthrough drug.”
He added that he “cannot help but wonder” if this was a “further instance of your playing with the truth” and manipulating others. Judge Weekes also spoke of the effect her lies had had on NHS staff and the resources that went into dealing with her.
He acknowledged her previous good character and the impact that jailing her would have on others, but said that only immediate custody could be justified. Oliver Kirk, Elkabbas’s defence barrister, said: “It is quite clear, in my submission, that these offences were committed by a person who was in the grip of a gambling addition.
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